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Rites of Passage Ceremony Celebrates African American Graduates

A special Rites of Passage ceremony will celebrate the high school graduation of African American students from throughout San Diego County.

The free event is put on by the National College Resources Foundation (NCRF) in partnership with the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) and the Association of African American Educators.

“Graduation is considered a rite of passage for students, and it’s important that we celebrate their accomplishments as they move to the next phase in their lives,” said Dr. Paul Gothold, county superintendent of schools “As we work to continue breaking down the barriers that negatively impact our African American students, it’s imperative that we also make space to share the joy of their success.”

Members of the African American community have shared that they wish to see their positive contributions and accomplishments celebrated by school systems. Feedback from SDCOE's African American Advisory Group was incorporated into the SDCOE’s Equity Blueprint for Action, which focuses on improving educational outcomes for African American, American Indian, and Latinx students. While the blueprint addresses the interconnected and specific needs of these communities, SDCOE also aims to support and celebrate other historically marginalized groups.

The Rites of Passage ceremony will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. June 13 in Room 201 of the Bayview Baptist Church at 6134 Pastor Timothy J. Winters Street in San Diego. The event will feature speeches, performances, and scholarship opportunities. Each graduate will receive a kente cloth, which signifies they are ready for the next step in their life. 

“We want to salute our African American students and their individual accomplishments,” said Charlean Parker, a program manager with NCRF. “We know that high school is tough, and there were a lot of tears and sweat put in, so on this night we, "the village,'' want to honor our students.”

Register here by June 8 for a graduate and up to two guests. Space is limited and seats will only be available to those who register before the allotted number is reached.

For more information, contact Charlean Parker.


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